Scientific Opinion on the pest categorisation of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner)
The Panel on Plant Health undertook a pest categorisation of Helicoverpa armigera for the European Union territory. The taxonomy of H. armigera and related species worldwide is complex but, in Europe, only H. armigera is present. Although it has been recorded in all Member States, it persists throughout the year only in the southernmost parts of Europe where winters are not too cold. From these areas and from North Africa, long-distance northward migrations of up to 1 000 km can occur. In most of Europe, only transient populations are found outdoors. Nevertheless, damage to outdoor crops has been recorded as far north as the Netherlands. H. armigera also damages crops produced under protected conditions, with outbreaks related to the import of plants for planting. It is highly polyphagous, with over 180 host species recorded from more than 45 families, and it is particularly hard to detect and difficult to control because the larvae bore into reproductive structures with few visible external symptoms. Damage is especially severe in hot summers. Insecticide resistance is common and a wide range of insecticides may be applied. It is listed in Annex IIAII, and special requirements for H. armigera are formulated in Annexes IVAI and IVAII of Council Directive 2000/29/EC to regulate the movement of plants for planting of Solanaceae and three ornamental genera.
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